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Hideo Oguni

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Title: 七人の侍
English title: Seven Samurai

Directed by:
Akira Kurosawa
Written by:
Hideo Oguni, Akira Kurosawa, Shinobu Hashimoto
Year: 1954

Before watching it, I knew very little about Akira Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai, only that it was black-and-white, fairly long and was very famous. I prefer to watch films and read books with that kind of sparse knowledge, because it avoids some of the pitfalls of expectations and false hopes. Since I need to write something about the film in order to review it, you should probably see the film first before reading this review if you are like me. Normal people can read on, however, because I do not plan to spoil anything.

Seven samurai is about- well, no surprises here – seven samurai who are hired by a small peasant village to protect them from bandits. The aggressors are overheard as they plan an attack on the village later that year, after the harvest is done. Desperate, the peasants try to find samurai to protect their homes and their lives, even if they can only pay with food and shelter for the samurai. Gradually, a force of seven samurai is gathered, all with different goals, aims and personalities. They will somehow have to fit into the village pattern of life as they prepare for the attack. In my opinion, this film is much about this relationship between samurai and villagers. Of course, the lives of the villagers, their sorrows and griefs, as well as those of the samurai, also play a major part.

Directing makes this film worthwhile. It is skillfully produced, with nice photography and some really gripping scenes. The story itself is not too complicated, but works. It does not bore me, but neither does it engage my imagination or feeling on any deep level. On the negative side, the continuous overplaying of characters irk me. I guess this is something Japanese, since it has been a part of most Japanese films and series I have seen. Still, I do not like it at all. Why do they always have to shout? Nonetheless, this is not enough to make Seven samurai a bad film. It is still worthwhile to watch, even if its roughly three hours long.

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